Numismatica Ars Classica, Zurich   |   Auction 95   |   6 October 2016
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Lot 220





Estimate: 3'000 CHF   |   Starting price: 2'400 CHF Price realized: 5'000 CHF
The Roman Empire
Trajan, 98 – 117
As circa 107-108, Æ 9.40 g. IMP CAES NERVAE TRAIANO AVG GER DAC P M TR P COS V P P Laureate head r., drapery on l. shoulder. Rev. S P Q R OPTIMO PRINCIPI Octastyle temple with portico on either side; at centre, architrave adorned with figure of Jupiter and other figures; on roof, figure holding spear between two Victories. In exergue, S C. C 550 var. (without drapery). BMC 958. RIC 577 var. (without Jupiter seated at centre). CBN 355. Woytek 307b (this coin cited) and Woytek 306b (dupondius, this reverse die).
Very rare. Brown tone and about extremely fine / extremely fine
Ex Hess, 6 January 1926, Löbbecke, 1151 and Lanz 109, 2002, 398 sales.

In addition to his stable government and military conquests that saw the expansion of the empire to its greatest extent, the emperor Trajan is also known for implementing beneficial social welfare policies and an extensive public building program that transformed much of Rome. The reverse of this fine middle aes issue shows the temple complex of Jupiter Victor, the ‘giver of Victory’, located in Regio X on the Palatine.

According to Livy, the temple of Jupiter Victor had an ancient history, having been vowed by Q. Fabius Maximus Rullianus in 295 B.C. during the battle of Sentinum against the Samnites (Livy X.29.14, 18). It apparently was constructed quickly, being dedicated probably in either 294 or 293 B.C. on the Ides of April (April 13), as Livy makes the additional statement that at the battle of Aquilonia in 293 B.C. L. Papirius had vowed a cup of new wine to Jupiter Victor (Livy X.42.7). At some point the temple seems to have been either damaged or destroyed, probably during the great fire that ravaged Rome in A.D. 80, as it was restored under the emperor Domitian, who laid an artificial foundation for it and probably greatly expanded the original structure, which he commemorated on his coinage. The reason for Trajan’s use of the type on his coins is not certain; it does not appear that he either restored the temple or added to its construction, so we should perhaps see its use a part of his decennalian series that was selected merely to represent his recent military prowess over. After all, he had just successfully finally subdued the Dacians, incorporating the former kingdom as a province to the empire.

The temple was a large and imposing building in the Corinthian style with an octastyle façade. As seen on this coin, it featured colonnades at the sides, frontal steps, and within resided a great statue of Jupiter Victor. Sestertii of the same type show the addition of an altar before the steps and statues of Victory and Pax(?) before the end columns of the colonnade (Woytek 253). By the time of the emperor Elagabalus, the front courtyard had had a propylaea constructed before it, as can been seen on one of his medallions, now unfortunately lost (Gnecchi III, 6), and on later extremely rare sestertii and medallions of Severus Alexander. Under Elagabalus, the temple was re-dedicated to the sun god Sol El Gabal, but seemingly re-dedicated again under Severus Alexander to Jupiter Ultor.

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